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A High Priestess of Skyrim - Chapter 36

Discussion in 'Skyrim Fan Fiction' started by Bren, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Bren

    Bren New Member

    Feb 14, 2021
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    Chapter 36

    “If you continue to speak as you always do, your disguise as a simple warrior will fail.” Jenassa said as our route exited the hills above Solitude and joined the main road. “You must cease to speak like a Priestess and begin to speak like a warrior.”

    We traveled a short distance as a party of four after leaving the Corsair vessel before we were forced to split into our final groups of two.

    “Past this point observation is possible.” Aric said. “Our route will pass north of the embassy, yours must pass south. It is likely you will be observed, but if you keep to your route you will raise no suspicions. Travelers who prefer a shorter route and do not fear the increased danger often take the paths you will travel.”

    “Will you also come under observation?” I asked.

    “Yes, but we will approach from the north, the opposite side from the entrance to the compound.” Aric said. “We will have sufficient time to position ourselves so that I will draw the attention of any assassins in the hills with my approach giving Serana the opportunity to position herself behind them.”

    “Will you wait until dark?” I asked.

    “I must approach while there is enough light to be seen.” Aric said. “after Serana is in position we will wait until dark before we spring our trap.”

    The details of our meetings had been finalized while the Dainty Sload made her gentle way towards her dock near the Solitude lighthouse. Aric and I also held a private meeting to discuss another topic.

    “I never believed that either of the Daughters of Coldharbor were capable of fear after such long lives, and what they both have endured.” Aric said. “It must have been a novelty for both of them. I have never desired immortality. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live so long, and see the same mistakes repeated over and over, every experience long since acquiring a mundane quality. You provided them both a novel opportunity, though I know it was not your intent.”

    “I had no intent whatsoever.” I said. “It was no more than a stray thought, and I was breathing in energy as if it was air.”

    “It is understandable that it would manifest as it did.” Aric said. “Your mind was already primed to expect your bound weapons. I had mentioned the enchantment I had place, and the first power that you summoned you used to cast your bound sword spell. It was the swiftness of summoning that exceeded your control. It is that of which we should speak.”

    “The feeling of joy that comes over me when I am in its grip is intoxicating, like a narcotic.” I said. “I can see how it could become dangerous.”

    “There is certainly a danger.” Aric said. “And you identify it immediately. You says when I am in its grip. You must not be within its grip; it must be within yours. You must hold that thought paramount in your mind if you are to continue this practice. In this there can be only one master. Either you will control it, or it will control you. It will pour itself into you, but you are too small a vessel to hold it in its entirety. It will not control you. It will destroy you. That is why you must be the master and not the servant. If you cannot, you should never draw upon it again.”

    “What can I do?” I asked. “It was not in my mind to draw upon the Earthbones. It began as a simple spell before cascading larger and larger.”

    “We can begin with a simple exercise of control.” Aric said. “A simple passing of magical energy back and forth between us. A controlled exchange.”

    “I have never heard of such a thing.” I said.

    “It will require a binding of sorts.” Aric said. “similar to the binding with the swords.”

    “A binding between what two things?” I asked.

    “A binding between the two of us.” Aric said. “We will bind ourselves one to another.”

    What does a man do when his dreams become reality?

    Vilkas had asked me that question. I was finding that out for myself.

    Everything I wanted or prayed for these past months I was offered now by the only man I would ever love, even were my age to rival Valerica’s.

    It was like being offer the world.

    I felt like I would burst from pure joy.

    It felt as if I had drawn all the energy from the world in one breath. If I shouted my joy, it would sound like the thunderclap Aric produced after his victory over the dragon. My face would shine like the noonday sun if I allowed even a portion of my joy to escape.

    “You have done this before?” I asked while I battled my breathing and my tears for control.

    “No.” Aric said. “I know of it as theory only. This will be my first attempt.”

    “Will you be in any danger?” I asked him.

    “I do not believe so.” Aric said. “It is like a pool of water. There is no danger until it becomes too deep. If we begin to exchange or hear each other’s thoughts, we approach dangerous shoals. At least, that is what I have been told.”

    “What must we do?” I asked.

    “We should first share a small cup of wine, and then find a comfortable posture together.” Aric said.

    My thoughts were of little else after we parted; Aric riding north, sharing a saddle with Serana and carrying the swords that he and Runa had gifted to me, bound together behind his saddle next to his war hammer.

    We would have shared much more than a cup of wine and a comfortable posture if time had permitted. At the end, when we had both become comfortable with the give and take of energy, and our bodies began to warm to each other, thoughts and images also began to pass between us. That they would quickly become erotic thoughts and images was not a surprise to either of us, but it made the knock at the cabin door and the need to end our exercise harder to bear.

    I was softly massaging the very tenuous and residual connection to Aric and reviewing some of the thoughts and images we shared when Jenassa’s comment brought me back to the here and now.

    “Do you mark my words, or would you prefer to hum and smile a while longer?” she asked me.

    “I apologize.” I said. “Was I truly humming and smiling?”

    “Yes, and it takes no stretch of imagination to infer the cause.” Jenassa answered. “If a stealthful approach had been required our mission would have long since been doomed.”

    “Your point is taken.” I said. “Tell me how best to alter my speech so that I may pass as a warrior.”

    “You may make a start by removing half the words from any sentence you form.” She said.

    “My father was a soldier.” I said, “And could form a sentence out of more than a few words.”

    “What was his speech like.” she asked.

    I made my best attempt at copying his voice

    “I’m naught but a common soldier.” I said.

    Jenassa was quiet for a moment.

    “Perhaps we should pretend you do not speak the common tongue and I will act as interpreter.” She said.

    “Was it so bad?” I asked.

    “Can you emulate Serana?” she asked.

    “Do you recommend that I lift Rikke by her neck with one hand and threaten her with a ghastly death?” I asked.

    “She has truly done as much?” Jenassa asked.

    “And will no doubt do so again tonight if these assassins are found.” I replied.

    “Gods.” she said.

    “But her manner of speech much resembles Jordis.” I said. “I will attempt to be more direct, and refrain from please and thank you and you are too kind.”

    “That will have to suffice.” She said. “It would have been best if you had practiced while we were still on the ship.”

    “I was occupied with other matters.” I said.

    “Is that so?” she asked with a smile that bordered on lecherous. “I had no idea.”

    Jenassa estimated that there was no more than an hour’s sunlight remaining when we arrived in Solitude. The weather had turned before that and I was glad for the cloak that Idgrod the Elder had given me to replace my own, which was in my saddle bag with a change of clothing.

    “The sisters will recognize their handiwork at one hundred paces.” The Jarl had said. “Keep your cloak hidden until you can don it with your old identity again.”

    “I thought it would be too fine for a simple warrior to wear” Jenassa said. “But it agrees with your armor and your current visage. You still look like a warrior, but a wealthy one.”

    “A cutpurse is the last thing I need now.” I said. “I must practice glowering before we must dismount.”

    “Enough! I yield!” Jenassa said some time later when her laughing at my practicing had reached such a force and volume that I thought she would fall from her saddle. “I will glower for the two of us.” She said after wiping her eyes.

    “I was attempting to emulate Maul, the walking behemoth who resides in Riften.” I said. “He must certainly be a master trainer in glowering. The effect he had on others was striking.”

    “He is three times your size.” Jenassa said. “That certainly accounts for its fair portion of effect.”

    It was under a raining lowering sky that we entered the Winking Skeever and rented a room in which to wait a decent amount of time before venturing out again.

    “You will need a waterproof case to carry your evidence.” Jenassa said. “The rain will continue until tomorrow.”

    “Aric ensured that I am well equipped.” I said. “I have two such cases.”

    “Let us allow our cloaks to dry somewhat.” Jenassa “It will give us a moment for a cup of wine before our mission begins in earnest.”

    “I admit that I am tempted to use a calming spell on myself.” I said. “After everything I have faced in these last months, can I truly be this nervous?”

    “You are a warrior, not a spy.” Jenassa said. “this is a battle of a different kind than you are used to. Like any battle, once the fighting starts your nerves will disappear.”

    “You sound like my father.” I said. “He told me something similar.”

    “He died in battle, did he not?” she asked.

    “Yes.” I said. I refused to let my tears flow. “He died defending me.”

    “Since you stand here, it seems he was successful.” Jenassa said.

    “We fought together.” I said. “We succeeded together, though I was the only survivor.”

    “He fulfilled his duty as your father then.” She said. “He protected you.”

    “Yes.” I answered. “He continues to protect me.”

    We sat quietly for a short while, drinking our wine. It was too short a time for our cloaks to dry appreciably, but it was long enough for me to become resolved in my mind.

    “Let us begin.” I said.

    “I have come to speak with General Rikke.” I said to the two men guarding the entrance to the Castle. “She recently received a communication about certain activities which she was urged to investigate. I was to speak a word to confirm my identity, which one of you will have to convey to her.”

    The guards did not know quite what to make of the two of us. Two women armed and armored; one an apparently wealthy warrior, the other a Dark Elf of indeterminate age in worn, well used but still exquisite ebony armor, with a glower which Maul would envy.

    The two men looked at each other for a moment before one of them spoke.

    “Wait here.” he said before motioning to another man in the courtyard to take his place before he entered the castle.

    Jenassa and I stood where we were, and I attempted to emulate her look of tedium and boredom. However, the wait was short as the man returned.

    “Which of you is the messenger?” he asked.

    “I am.” I said fighting to keep the word sir silent.

    “Come with me.” He said as he led me into the castle.

    The hallway was straight and continued to a door that was guarded by two men.

    We stopped at the door.

    “You must surrender your weapons before meeting with the General.” The first man said.

    I waited the amount of time it took me to inspect each of the three faces that were likewise inspecting mine. Then I drew each of my short swords in turn and handed them to my guide.

    Their appearance did not go unnoticed by him as he carefully held one in each hand and signaled for the door to be opened.

    He entered first before my path was blocked by the two men. He whispered to the General, who stood next to Jordis, and handed her my swords.

    I began to think that we had erred in accepting these gifts. They drew too much attention. But the General placed them on the side table and signaled the guards, who let me pass.

    I walked into what was clearly a map room. Rikke held up her hand to stop me several paces from her, and several paces further still from my weapons.

    “It is not polite in our culture to wear a helm indoors.” Rikke said.

    Clever I thought. It also meant that my foreign appearance led her to believe that I did not have experience with Imperial customs.

    Jordis seemed to have no need to feign ignorance of my identity, or any other emotion. The shock on her face when she looked at me said all that was required about my disguise.

    I remove my helm, and the shock seemed to increase.

    FACE. I thought at her with all my force of mind. She turned away for a moment and drank from a cup that sat on the table as the man who guided me turned and closed the door.

    “You have me at a disadvantage.” The General said. “You know who I am, but you are a stranger to me.”

    “That is true.” I said. “we have never met.”

    “What is your name?” she said bluntly.

    “Taviah Mirel” I said, reciting the name that I had practiced repeatedly.

    “By what title should I call you?” she asked.

    “I have no title.” I replied. “Call me what you will.”

    “You are not a native of Skyrim, Taviah Mirel.” Rikke said. “You are far from home.”

    “You are correct.” I said. “My home lies far south.”

    “How far, if I may ask?” Rikke asked.

    “Bruma.” I said simply and, in good part, truthfully.

    “That is indeed far.” Jordis said.

    “You have a word to speak to me, Taviah Mirel.” She said. “Do you not? You have gone to great effort to arrive here to speak it. Please do not let me delay you any longer.”

    Petso” I said.

    “It is the word I was expecting, but I do not recognize the language.” Rikke said.

    “Not many would.” I replied.

    Jordis turned back and inspected her cup again.

    “You message was received.” Rikke said. “The reports I received from the two locations disturbed me greatly. How came you by such information?”

    “I am but the messenger, General.” I said. “The information was obtained by my Patron; some of which resides in this waterproof case.”

    “It is the rainy season in Solitude.” Rikke said. “As your expensive armor and cloak will attest. Will I ever see the contents of this case?”

    “I delay only so as not to surprise your bodyguard with a sudden motion.” I said with a nod to Jordis.

    “We are forewarned.” Rikke said.

    I slipped the strap for the case over my head and handed it to Jordis, who approached and took it in her hand as she looked me in the eye.

    It seemed that I was not the only one in need of a calming spell.

    Rikke opened the case upon a personal journal and two slightly crumpled, blood-stained documents.

    “This is the personal journal of General Tertius.” Rikke said as she began to leaf through the worn leatherbound journal.

    “It is the later entries you will find most pertinent.” I said.

    “I have received orders from Tribunus LaticlaviusTappius to assume command of that portion of the Legion detached from regular service and to proceed to Skyrim and place myself and my men under the command of High Counselor Corelas at the location indicated.” Rikke read after nearing the end of the Journal. “Neither the Imperial authority nor the Thalmor authority are to be informed of our presence or our mission.”

    She looked briefly at other pages of the journal before moving on to the documents.

    Lieutenant Selles,

    Thalmor Commander Mithlas requests an Imperial officer to take command of the Penitus Oculatus patrolling the grounds of their outpost. He claims that our men do not show proper deference to Thalmor authority. Take charge of our men. Allow no one to approach the compound. We cannot waste all our efforts to begin fighting amongst ourselves. I am well aware of Thalmor arrogance, I see it at close range from Mithlas and Commander Solira. You may say so to the men, but also say that we have a mission to complete.

    General Tertius


    As a precaution, report any order given to any Penitus Oculatus by any Thalmor if you are in doubt whether it is proper.

    “Tertius.” Jordis said. “Can this be genuine?”

    “Yes.” Rikke said. “The bodies in the compound had been set upon by scavengers, but those in the buildings lay were they fell. There was significant decay, but the report from that outpost states that one of the Imperial bodies wore the armor of a general in the Penitus Oculatus.”

    “What does the other say?” Jordis asked.

    Commander Mithlas,

    By order of Counselor Corelas, you and Commander Solira are promoted in rank and are to assume command all Dominion and Imperial forces outside the Manor.

    Imperial Lieutenant Selles will be placed in command of the Penitus Oculatus forces patrolling the grounds outside the Manor but will report to you. Keep all Imperial forces away from the Manor and the Barracks. They are temporary allies only. Use them, but do not trust them.

    General Tertius seems immune to the charms of our agent. She reports that he shows no interest in her. Another agent may have more success. I will ask our Nord ally if one of his race can be provided. It is a remote chance to gain intelligence, but we lose nothing in the attempt. If the second attempt fails, we will not pursue it further.

    Glory to the Dominion.

    General Erundil

    “Gods.” Jordis said. “What have you uncovered Rikke?” She asked. “Who is Counselor Corelas?”

    “Brother to the High Justiciar, that monumental thorn in my side. Corelas is a member of the Aldmeri Dominion High Council.”

    “Why is a member of the High Council in Skyrim directing Thalmor Generals and Commanders to keep Imperial soldiers away from a secret outpost?”

    “What do you know of this?” Rikke asked me.

    “I know nothing of it firsthand.” I said truthfully. “I have never set eyes on either the outpost or the Counselor.”

    “But other knowledge you have.” Jordis said.

    “I know that as we speak evidence is also being delivered to the Thalmor Ambassador.” I said. “Evidence that includes a rod and chain of office.”

    “Gods, it is true.” Jordis said.

    “What of the outpost at the border to Cyrodiil?” Rikke asked.

    “Nothing of that.” I said. “If you have a report from that location then you know much more than I. I know nothing.”

    “That is the second location you mentioned?” Jordis asked Rikke

    “Yes.” Rikke said. “The Thalmor erected a checkpoint at the Cyrodiil border. The situation was much the same. Many Thalmor and Imperial bodies, disturbed my predators; but enough armor and materials remaining to estimate the origin and size of each force.”

    “What was the estimate?” Jordis asked.

    “Forty Thalmor and twenty Penitus Oculatus.” Rikke said.

    Jordis looked at me.

    “What was the estimate from this secret compound?” she asked me.

    I remained silent and looked at Rikke.

    “Higher.” Rikke said. “Fifty Thalmor and thirty Penitus Oculatus.”

    “Gods’ blood.” Jordis said. “That is more Penitus Oculatus than the whole of Skyrim should contain.”

    “General,” I began “Are you not the ranking Imperial officer in Skyrim?”

    “Yes.” Rikke said, looking at me in a way I was sure I did not like.

    “How comes it to pass, then, that so many Imperial soldiers die under your command and yet go unnoticed?” I asked.

    “Speak your mind, messenger.” Rikke said.

    “It is not my mind I speak, General, but the mind of my Patron.” I said.

    “Who is your Patron?” Rikke asked.

    “That is a secret, General.” I said, a smile forming on my face that Serana would have envied.

    “We have experience prying secrets from those who would wish to keep them.” Rikke said.

    “Let us not quarrel, General.” I said. “you have been quite hospitable until now, and I have repaid your hospitality in kind. If you threaten, then I must also repay that in kind. It were best if we remained friends.”

    “Best for you perhaps.” Rikke said. “You are unarmed. You are in no position to threaten.”

    “My weapons are there, General, for all to see.” I said as I held my hands out at my sides.

    She nodded to the guard in the room and then motioned towards me.

    It was a mere thought in my mind.


    I did not let it gain control of me.

    There can be only one master. I heard Aric’s voice. But more than that, I felt him with me. Our bond came to life.

    I am master here.

    My swords burned with enchanted blue fire as I held them out at my sides. But the whirlwind that enveloped me, and the energy that flowed from my feet to my head were mine to command, and I bent them to my will.

    It needed no pretense on Jordis’ part. She had stepped back and drawn her sword, as had the guard and the General. It took no effort to hold the door in place. No force of men would open it.

    “What will you do, General, to the greater threat to Skyrim, to the Empire?” I asked, my voice echoing in the enclosed space. “Will you threaten it as well, until it shows its strength and rises up against your threats as I have? Will you then retreat from it, because to oppose it would be your end?”

    Their faces were frozen in masks of fear. They feared me. Even Jordis.

    You must let them go, beloved. I heard his voice in my mind. You must guide them now to the path they must take.

    It does not control me. I thought in reply. I am master here.

    You are. He replied I am proud of you. I love you.

    It was as if his words broke a spell I was under.

    I swallowed the energy back down and sent it back to its source.

    The room seemed dark now, only lit by what few candles that had not gutted. My weapons were once again only physical weapons. I returned the to their scabbards.

    “We are not enemies General.” I said. None of them had sheathed their swords. Most painful for me was the way Jordis continued to look at me.

    “Trust me that I am your friend.” I said to her, my sword sister. The General would think I spoke to all of them, but I could see that Jordis understood.

    “If you would know your true enemy, and look upon him, and the force he has collected, the force that is a plague upon this country that you call your home, that you are sworn to defend, look to Silent Moons Camp. It is there that you will learn the truth.”

    Jordis was first to sheath her sword. She exchanged a look with Rikke who did the same.

    “If you are committed to learning the truth General, you will find like minded allies west of Silent Moons Camp three days hence. If not, or if you play a very well-acted part, it is enemies you will find there at that time. I will leave you in peace and unharmed to decide which. Do not force me to kill any of your soldiers as I do so. The Empire has lost enough of them already.”

    She thought for only a moment.

    “See her safely out of the castle. Let no one interfere.” Rikke said.

    The guard was not at all pleased to be assigned to escort me. He opened the door on an empty hall and stood as far away as possible as I walked out. The two guards had retreated to the far end of the corridor. They stood aside at a signal from my escort, and in a moment, I was outside, in the courtyard. The rain continued as it would until morning if Jenassa was correct. It seemed that no alarm had been sounded, that the walls of the castle were thick enough to muffle the effects of my efforts, and the guard too stunned to think to call for help.

    It seemed like Jenassa had planted her feet and not moved from where I saw her last.

    “Let us get out of this rain.” I said. “And I would be very happy to eat something.”

    “And to drink something, I hope.” Jenassa said.

    “You are a mind reader, friend.” I answered.
    #1 Bren, Apr 15, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021

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